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Copyright 2001 Associated Press

LEESBURG, Va. -- A leading researcher on DNA sequencing analysis was found dead in the secluded northern Virginia farmhouse where he lived alone, police said.

Robert M. Schwartz, 57, was found by neighbors Monday after co-workers called them to say Schwartz had uncharacteristically skipped work and missed a meeting.
An autopsy will determine Schwartz's cause of death, police said Tuesday.

"We're all stunned," said Anne Armstrong, president of the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, a nonprofit agency where Schwartz worked. "We don't know anything. What we're assuming is maybe he walked in on something."

Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen Simpson said detectives had some leads.

Schwartz, a founding member of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, worked at the center for almost 15 years and had served as executive director of research and development and university relations, Armstrong said. He also worked on the first national online database of DNA sequence information.